A new analysis of mobile phone data shows that more than one quarter of crashes on US roads are linked to phone misuse.
And the number is up by 9% compared to the same period last year.
Between January and May 2022, 19.2% of collisions involved mobile use by the driver in the 15 seconds prior to a crash.
This year the figure had jumped to 28.4%, and crashes spiked by 14.8%.
Across the world communities have been alarmed at the rise in road crashes and related deaths and serious injuries, and now data points its swiping finger at mobile phone use.
The analysis was undertaken by Zendrive, a company with monitoring technology inside mobiles phones and GPS devices carried by professional drivers and every day motorists whose insurance policies require it.
The technology tracks phone use and sudden acceleration and braking and turning movements to assess driver safety risks.
Zendrive says that mobile use has taken over from speeding as the leading predictor of crash risk.
"We examined the number of phone use occurrences per trip for both collision and non-collision trips. The data revealed that, on average, drivers engaged in phone use about six times during a collision trip,“ Zendrive said in a statement.
"Almost half of the drivers (45.8%) involved in collisions used their phones at least once during their trip.
"Similarly, over 40% of collision trips per month had rapid acceleration events, while all events – speeding, rapid acceleration, and phone use – are trending upwards month over month.
"These worsening behaviours are ultimately leading to more collisions, which further underscores the severity of the distracted driving epidemic.”
Zendrive said that as distracted driving continues to worsen, it was imperative for individuals, communities, and policymakers to take decisive action.
"Education and advocacy campaigns should continue to highlight the importance of safe driving practices, encouraging drivers to put their phones away while on the road,” Zendrive said.
"Additionally, tech companies and insurers can play a vital role in curbing distracted driving by implementing features that discourage phone usage while driving."
Or become our friend and subscribe to receive our fortnightly newsletter.